Sonya Borrero MD MS*

Founding Director, CONVERGE; Professor of Medicine

Sonya Borrero, MD, MS is the Founding Director of the Center for Innovative Research on Gender Health Equity (CONVERGE) and a tenured Professor of Medicine; Clinical and Translational Science; and Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She is also the co-director of the Advanced Fellowship in Women’s Health at the VA Pittsburgh Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP). She is a health services researcher with advanced clinical training in women’s health whose work strives to advance reproductive health equity. Her research has been funded continuously by the NIH for the past 15 years and uses multiple methods and disciplinary approaches to understand the multilevel factors that influence reproductive decision making and access to contraception and abortion care. Her work has focused on socially marginalized populations to inform social, clinical, and policy interventions that will support all people’s reproductive autonomy and their ability to build the families they desire.

Dr. Borrero has worked closely with scientific, government, and community organizations and agencies to help advance equitable reproductive health services and policies, including serving on the boards of the Society of Family Planning, the Women’s Law Project, and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation as well as serving on the Pennsylvania Maternal Mortality Review Committee and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veterans Services.  She has also won numerous awards locally and nationally for her mentorship and scholarship, including the Mid-Career Research Mentoring Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine, the Distinguished Research Mentoring Award from the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research and Education, the Investigator Excellence in Research Award from the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, and the Beacon of Science Award from the Society of Family Planning.

*Dr. Borrero is currently on sabbatical leave to serve as the Chief Medical and Scientific Advisor in the Office of Population Affairs in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Education & Training
BA, Amherst College, 1996
MD, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, 2001
Internal Medicine Residency, University of Pittsburgh, 2004
General Medicine Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
MS, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
Excellence in Medical Student Research Mentoring Award, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2014
Distinguished Research Mentor Award, Institute for Clinical Research and Education (ICRE), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2018
Midcareer Research Mentoring Award, Society of General Internal Medicine, 2019
Excellence in Government Gold Award in Outstanding Contribution to Science, Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board, 2020
Beacon of Science Award, Society of Family Planning, 2020
Investigator Excellence in Research Award, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, 2022
Representative Publications

Borrero S, Frietsche S, Dehlendorf C. Crisis pregnancy centers: faith centers operating in bad faith. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2019;34(1):144-145.

  • Crisis pregnancy centers are organizations that provide pregnancy-related counseling and support from an antiabortion perspective. While crisis pregnancy centers have a right to exist and can provide valued emotional, spiritual, and material support for some women, they often engage in practices that are dubious, even unethical.

Borrero S, Callegari LS, Zhao X, Mor MK, Sileanu FE, Switzer G, Zickmund S, Washington DL, Zephyrin LC, Schwarz EB. Unintended pregnancy and contraceptive use among women veterans: The ECUUN Study. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2017;32(8):900-908.

  • While rates of contraceptive use, unmet contraceptive need, and unintended pregnancy among women veterans served by the VA are similar to those in the US population, these rates are suboptimal in both populations, with over a quarter of women who are at risk for unintended pregnancy not using prescription contraception, and unintended pregnancies accounting for over a third of all pregnancies.

Borrero S, Nikolajski C, Steinberg JR, Freedman L, Akers AY, Ibrahim S, Schwarz EB. "It just happens": a qualitative study exploring low-income women's perspectives on pregnancy intention and planning. Contraception. 2015;91(2):150-156.

  • Findings from semistructured interviews with low-income, Black and white women suggest that the current conceptual framework that views pregnancy-related behaviors from a strict planned behavior perspective may be limited, particularly among low-income populations